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About this blog

trial and error....

Entries in this blog

 

Star in the East...

Just spent a tiresome night in a Premier Inn in Grimsby. Why does a modern hotel chain at the upper end of the “business and overnight” sector think it’s acceptable to have no air-conditioning? Stuffy and unpleasant. Food was downright poor and the cider tasted watery, didn’t finish my pint (which is most unusual). Typical location on a nondescript light industrial estate made for constant traffic noise through the night.    I’m also finding that the whole “working in the U.K. to slow
 

Heirs to Basil, 2019..

So, here I am in sunny (occasionally) Lincolnshire. Road conditions mean that the 60 miles or so to work, can be anything from 1hr 40 to 2hrs drive, so I stay out two or three nights a week. I’d mercifully, largely forgotten about English notions of hotel keeping, so it’s all come as rather a shock to the system.    Mostly this means local hotels, booked by the company. These can charitably be described as “variable” and as a sort of bonus, tonight has produced a neighbouring room who
 

Market Deeping Club exhibition - cancelled due to vandalism

I’ve just finished a rather depressing read, from the Chairman of a club of which I’m a (mostly absentee) member. I dare say that quite a few readers will already have gathered that the 2019 Exhibition was cancelled due to severe vandalism the night before opening.    I can’t really add to any of this. People directly involved have taken action to progress the situation, the police are involved and I’m sure that long correspondences with insurance adjusters will ensue. Clubs and indivi
 

M6, M5...

I’ve been travelling the M6 the last twelve months, a motorway I knew little about.    Most motorways seem to have their own style of services, and on the M6 it’s those over-bridges containing noisy, cramped food outlets and at Forton, the (mostly abandoned) “observation lounge” reminiscent of a set for a Gerry Anderson puppet show. Whoever thought they were a good idea? The 1960s were truly, a different time...    One worthwhile innovation is that Travelodge have apparently

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Disappointing start ..

Watching the start of the London Marathon, one of the wheelchair racers failed at the start due to a puncture.   That surprised me. I’d always imagined, insofar as I’d thought if it at all, that elite level wheelchair racing would be attended by support teams like cycle racing, but apparently not...   

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rockershovel

 

And there it was, gone....

So I’m strolling along as a Project Engineer on directional drilling works. It’s a stroll in the park, I have everything I’m asked for at my fingertips and half the time, I work from home.    This leaves me time to look about me, and I’ve been out today on my 2013 Bonneville. My kids conspired to get me to buy this bike, and... I appreciate their thinking but is it REALLY a Bonneville? Nah, not reeeelly. It’s a pleasant bike and it has the name and the styling - but I owned a Bonnevill

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Stan and Ollie

Whiling away a miserable wet weekend in Plymouth (I don’t go home every weekend because of the time and cost), went to the pictures for the first time in a long time.   Much impressed with the new layout at the cinema, big semi-reclining airline style seats with ample legroom. Being 4:30 in the afternoon, only 7 or 8 in the auditorium... the film was Stan and Ollie, and I loved it.   I was never a huge fan of Laurel and Hardy, being (I suppose) the generation that “didn’t want to see a Lau

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

New digs, new boots...

I’ve just signed a lease for a new (well, different) flat in Plymouth, as I’m still working there. I definitely wanted to escape the student areas... students are a blight on the accommodation market. I was also looking for a furnished let, which most owners don’t offer, and a “break clause” and automatic rollover to rolling status - this is supposedly legally guaranteed, but try to achieve it!    So, I move in a fortnight. The new landlords seem to have picked on the market for contra
 

God’s Wonderful Railway..

Just been to Cardiff for a client visit.    XC Plymouth to Bristol PW was its usual scruffy, short-formed disappointment (also grossly overcrowded past Taunton, XC being apparently oblivious or uncaring about Cheltenham Week). GWR produced a pleasing change of scene with a rather swish 800 class for the 45 minutes or so to Cardiff; the first time I recall travelling on one if these, and I was rather impressed.    Return journey started with a new-looking DMU from GWR, quite c

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

6N time!

Always a look-ahead date in my diary, and this year has got off to a great start!    Quite what France thought they were doing on Friday, is hard to say. I don’t believe that even Italy have managed to go in at half-time, 16-0 up at home, and still lose. I’d always expect a strong second half with a burst at the last from Wales, and that was what we got... going to be a disappointing year for Les Bleus, on that showing. They looked good at times but that just isn’t enough at that level

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Back where I hadn’t expected to be...

I’m out on site again, on a rather spectacular location overlooking the Solent. This is my first “site” job in the U.K. for almost ten years, back on a drilling site after a long time away from that field, so I’ll see how it goes.   The specialist contractor, my employer, are the British arm of a Dutch contractor and rather unexpectedly, I find I’m more comfortable there than I was last year, working in an office in Birmingham. I found the general flow of office conversation in Brum, trivial

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Yay Spoons!

At Stansted, another place much changed since I last saw it, in no wise for the better.   However it DOES have a Witherspoon’s, who served a quite acceptable g&t WITHOUT the shovel full of ice in a half-pint balloon that so many places dispense, and even had some Angostura bitters.   I quite like ‘Spoons...

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Northward Ho! In which divers misadventures befall our correspondent..

Well, that was fun. For family reasons, a long and difficult journey at a difficult time, in which some showed to better advantage than others.   First leg, Cross Country, Plymouth to BNS. Cross Country consistently fail to impress, and this was no exception; a crowded, short-formation train (4 car Voyager instead of 7-car HST; reservations in disorder, charging sockets not working despite the new overhead reservation displays). The diversion for the incident on the line was just one of those

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Crash, bang, sparrowhawk!

So there was a loud crash on the roof over the bay window, much flapping and scrabbling, and this...     My best identification is a female sparrowhawk, apparently they specialise in hunting pigeons and are well known to hunt in gardens...

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rockershovel

 

Avon Bridge... wonderful...

I really must get a dashcam.   Off to S Wales this weekend for my annual dose of Sportster racing. Actually not the only time I ride this bike but the only place it gets a “proper” outing on its natural habitat, a half-mile trotting track. Where’s Bruce Brown when you need him?   So I drove over the Avon Bridge heading West, with the evening sun glittering in the cables; absolutely glorious.

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Declining standards...

Had a rather disappointing lunch today, in several ways. Ventured down to Cambridge to see someone, and stopped at a pub near Duxford for lunch. I’ve been here occasionally over the years, but shan’t be going again...   The once-rural setting of this former coaching inn has been progressively eroded by piecemeal light industrial development, and it now has no garden left at all. The parking is now charged (you enter your registration on a screen inside to get exemption, but there is no sign ou

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Lancaster!

Heard an unusual aircraft noise, went out into the garden and saw a Lancaster bomber approach from the North, bank and turn, and head off North again.   From BBMF at Coningsby, I suppose... quite something to see!

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Eurovision...

My good wife spelt the evening watching the blizzard of pyrotechnics and strobes which after a while, I realised was Eurovision... Ho hum, business as usual.   I did watch the voting, more or less, it’s no fun any more. The new voting format seems designed to gloss over the more obvious politicking and settling of old scores between “far-off countries of which we know little”. None of the hostesses QUITE fell out of her dress, and they all had ample supplies of cheesy, laboured “humour”. One

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Ethical tea!

Just been into town on various odd errands, and had tea and cake in the Church in Cathedral Square.   Cup of tea, very nice piece of walnut and coffee cake, £1.90 including the rather glorious setting. No organ recital this morning, apparently. Why anyone goes in the Starbucks opposite, I have no idea.   Also found a new barber in Priestgate. My old place has changed to the point that there’s no real point going there any more, and this place does wet shaves with a hot towel! Didn’t have a

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

more 12" = 1' , it seems...

people have definitely woken up after Xmas, now. The phone has been ringing all over the place and I've just picked up a couple of months' work in 12' = 1' scale, Quality Engineer for platform doors on the CrossRail project. It's only a short job, closing out at the end of the project as the original team move on - but I don't doubt that it will be very busy, these end-of-project roles always are and it's rather satisfying to have done some work on the CrossRail project after all.

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

On the buses....

My good wife appears to be plumbing new depths in her doze-in-front-of-ancient-sitcoms marathons, three consecutive episodes of On The Buses ... astonishing to think of Reg Varney’s sometime popularity...

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Xmas music

Christmas always includes something you would never have thought of but works out really well, and this year it was Radio 3... my good wife has a truly, deeply awful 1970s medley which she plays incessantly on "shuffle" in the kitchen, quite loud, when I'm away or when major projects like Xmas pud are in hand.   It used to be a CD but now it's on the iplayer and has become something of a menace, a long way up the "oh, FFS" scale; not quite level with blocked gutters on a rainy day when the 6N

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Oh dear, it's Christmas...

Some quite versatile multi-tasking on display tonight. My good wife is snoring like a tractor on the sofa, having turned the tv to a Michael Buble "Christmas Special" which gives me an overpowering impression of being trapped inside a lift, or hotel reception.   Whenever the snoring reaches a crescendo I turn it over, or just turn the sound down... at which point, she stirs, and turns it back on...

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Colorado 2-8-2s

Heard from Paul Martin last week, seems that my MMI locos are currently on the workbench having sound and DCC fitted. I'm quite excited about this, looking forward to giving them a run on the club test track..

rockershovel

rockershovel

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